Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Herb Baumeister

The Dark Side

"Without guilt what is a man? An animal, isnt he?"

Archibald MacLeish

One thing is certain: Herbert Baumeister fit the niche of the serial killer. "In fact," attests Vandagriff, "he was right there."

In a report entitled Who is a Serial Killer? Vandagriff shares with us his insight into the brain of this species. Following are excerpts from this informative work that apply to the persona of Baumeister:

"(The serial killer) is typically white, male, between the ages of 25 and 35. He is often married, has children and has full time employment. The majority of the time he will kill white victims...His intellect ranges from below average to above average. He does not know his victims nor have any particular hatred for them.

"Of the four main types of killers the psychotic, the missionary motive type, the thrill killer and the lust killer, Baumeister fits the last category. The lust killer, the most common type, gets turned on by the killings. They usually torture their victims. The more heinous their action the more they become aroused.

"Serial killers experience certain traumas in life. These are many. Among them are those suffered by Baumeister: poor body image (witnessed by the fact he didnt want his wife to see his lanky body nude) and phobias (over-concerned about what his co-workers thought of him at the Indianapolis Star and at the BMV).

"Herb also had feelings of what is called disassociation, including separation of feelings (able to kill and then on go on to live a normal life with his children) and daydreaming.

"Following disassociation, we find acts of fantasy control of others and compulsive masturbation and violent fantasy exposure and fantasy of murder,

"Often, there is trauma re-enforcement; in Herbs case this translates as loss of employment and financial stress brought on by the decline of the Sav-A-Lot stores.

"Facilitators, such as alcohol and drugs, seem to have served as accessories to Herbs crimes. Tony Harris saw him use both the evening he spent with him in the pool at Fox Hollow. Some people say that these give the serial killer the nerve he needs to commit the crimes. Others say that these facilitators give him a much-needed excuse; in other words, something to blame the crimes on.

"The murders themselves start with a specific time period between victims that varies from killer to killer. As the killer becomes more successful, the time period between the murders shortens. The high from the murders, and the need to get high, becomes stronger with time. Thus, the murders become more frequent.

"Serial killers take pride in not leaving evidence. Many times. They can be a perfectionist. Baumeister was definitely the latter.

"The method of the killings many times are associated with their fantasy. They are likely to keep a souvenir from the victim. Perhaps in Herbs case the videotapes fulfilled that need.

"Even the manner in which Herb got caught faithfully follows the mode of all serial killers downfalls. He was over-confident in his ability to beat any investigation; being over-confident, he carelessly left clues; and one very common trait, as practiced by Herb, was his leaving his victims bodies closer and closer to his own home.

"In short, Herbert Richard Baumeister was the consummate serial killer."


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